MX23RW : Tuesday, December 18 21:54:59
Feb 25, 2017 at 3pm UK at ​Goodison Park
Attendance: 39,595
Everton
2-0
Sunderland
Gueye (40'), Lukaku (78')
FT(HT: 1-0)

Ronald Koeman expecting "difficult" Sunderland test

Koeman expecting
© SilverHub
Everton manager Ronald Koeman warns his side that they cannot afford to be below their best when they welcome bottom-of-the-table Sunderland to Goodison Park.

Everton manager Ronald Koeman has warned his side that they cannot afford to be below 100% when they welcome relegation-threatened Sunderland to Goodison Park on Saturday.

The Black Cats prop up the Premier League table as things stand and travel to face a free-scoring Everton side unbeaten in eight matches since before Christmas.

However, Koeman stressed the importance of preventing confidence from turning into complacency and insists that his side will be punished if they don't play at their best.

"It's always difficult. They fight against relegation. They also had a break. In the last couple of days I watched the Sunderland-Southampton game. The final score was 4-0 but the first 45 minutes Sunderland was the better team," he told reporters.

"We need to prepare ourselves. If you're not 100%, if you take it too easy, if you are sloppy they will punish you for that. We are full of confidence but we have to show that in a good level on the pitch. The team and the people are happy. But in a good run you have to be prepared for what can happen. We know we are strong but it's football and we need to keep the momentum and that starts this weekend."

The match will also see a first return to Goodison Park for Darron Gibson and Bryan Oviedo following their January moves to Sunderland, and Koeman believes that they will be afforded a warm welcome back to Merseyside.

"It's always special for the players. They went to Sunderland to get more game time, that was a good choice by both players. They will get a respectful welcome. If they play they will do everything to win the game for Sunderland. We are friends after the game and before the game but during the 95 minutes everyone is involved in his own team," he added.

Victory for Everton could see them close the gap on the Champions League places to just six points.


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Ronald Koeman is all smiles during the Premier League game between Everton and Liverpool on December 19, 2016
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool1714303773045
2Manchester CityMan City17142148103844
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs17130431161539
4Chelsea17114235142137
5Arsenal17104337231434
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd177552929026
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves177461919025
8Everton176652422224
9West Ham UnitedWest Ham177372525024
10Watford177372325-224
11Bournemouth177282528-323
12Leicester CityLeicester176472121022
13Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton176382024-421
14Newcastle UnitedNewcastle174491422-816
15Crystal Palace1743101423-915
16Cardiff CityCardiff1742111733-1614
17Southampton172691632-1612
18Burnley1733111533-1812
19Huddersfield TownHuddersfield1724111028-1810
20Fulham1723121642-269

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